Dear readers,

Accidents happen. Regarding my LETTER TO THE EDITOR (Oct. 2), a couple of paragraphs were run together. Wishing to caution the speeding reader to avoid the collisions, I submitted a second letter asking that the editors acknowledge their honest mistake.

“As honest as the wheel in Rick’s.”

“My muse, your nose is shiny; take a powder.”

And while she’s gone I’ll mention that my request included a brief account of our encounter with the officer dispatched to the scene. I told him the hit-and-run collider drove an unconvertible juggernaut. He frowned, “Too general.” My muse piped up: “A vintage Argo.” “Now we’re getting somewhere; you don’t see too many of those on the road,” he doffed his cap to my muse and, being a by-the-booker, wanted to booker as a material witness. The moment calling for a skillful demonstration of diplomatic aplomb, my muse was inimitably dissuasive: “You know what you can do with your book. I happen to be an IMmaterial witness, a diva – no, my name isn’t Michael Roth – and I have friends in high places; one bolt of lightning, Phyllis, and you’re toast.” No, I don’t know why she called him Phyllis.

Nor do I know why her vaunted charm offensive failed to deliver my brief; at Argus HQ ‘twas one dead letter. (My muse’s post mortem: “They spiked my punch.”) If “Never let it be said that a muse-pecked anti-diluvian’s gun to our head would trigger our correction,” is the editors’ Declaration of Independence or notably off-key Star-Spangled Banner, I’m taking a knee.

“So my protégé is muse-pecked.”

“Nothing personal.”

“Your muse not being a person and all.”

“Are you acquainted with realpolitik?”

“Naturlich! I’m fluent in Austrian. Jawohl!”

“And are you familiar with the art of seduction?”

“Can’t help you there. We white-gowned muses are scantily clad for performing black arts. Our black sheep was cast adrift and it was first reported her craft was overturned, but later reported the outcast washed up on the shores of Circe’s palmy surcease. Your likes have ever found her most appealing: she patronizes penned men.”

“I’ve heard she feeds and houses them.”

“Forever and a day. Odyssean oddities aside, my subject was muse-pecked, I believe.”

“Why yes, your subject was muse-pecked, the better to conjure up in the Argus editors’ minds what fiction-writers call ‘a sympathetic character.’ Failing in that endeavor, my epistle invites an uncertain fate.”

“The prodigal son’s return to the fold–I trust it isn’t the centerfold–is to be celebrated at the expense of the fatted calf, yours truly being…”

“Well over a year ago I warned you that overindulging in metaphors would make you fat.”

“I’m just supposed to take one for the team. To that end you turn me into a protégé-beater.”

“You’re overwrought.”

“I’M overwrought. You turn a fender-bender into a Wounded Knee…”

“A bended knee.”

“…and I’M the one who’s overreacting.”

“My muse, to sail through life on your even keel is a consummation devoutly to be wished, but get real…”

“I wouldn’t care to. The word made flesh, that sort of thing, just isn’t me. However, your being in a contentious mood, I’ll throw you a bone: embedding himself in academic clerical cloth, your alma mater’s Like-a-Moth, no sloth, voraciously frays the social fabric. My protégé, is that real enough for you?”

“I couldn’t have said it better. Except that it’s all about HIM.”

“I didn’t exactly blow his horn, nor would I blow yours. The very thought of it takes my breath away.”

“It isn’t about your blowing my horn.”

“I’m pleased to hear. What is it about?”



“More work is needed on corralling your run amok spirits.”

“I AM choraling my run-a-mock spirits.”

“We must be at crossed purposes.”

“Oh, CALvary. That there’s a whole lot of skullduggery: ‘Alas, poor Yorick…’”

“Here’s my cavil. The social-justice-slinging…”

“The con-slinging…”

“…harrangler routinely commits high crimes – e.g., his felonious ‘throne and alter.’ He’s one Ill-lettered pseudo.”

“I wouldn’t call him that.”

“What would you call him?”

“All hat, no cattle.”

“You’re overindulging again.”

“Overindulging in metaphors is my one high crime.”

“While I’d be hanged for a mussed demeanor. And being ill-practiced at posing as Caesar’s wife above reproach…”

“You practiced innuendo, were my looks as unhale as that pseudo-divus’ wifey’s, sure as hale above reproach I WOULD be.”

– Martin Benjamin ’57


Benjamin is a member of the class of 1957.

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